Ana Sotirova is one Huygens scholar who has definitely put her experiences in the Netherlands to good use! Now that she has returned to her home country of Bulgaria she is working for the Commission for Protection of the Competition – the only Bulgarian ministry of its kind.
Ana has also been awarded a scholarship to attend summer university in Budapest where she will take courses on competition law in transitional countries.
While in the Netherlands there were many aspects that contributed to Ana’s current success. She was able to take advantage of the variety of sources on Western European Law in order to enhance her work on current projects.
Also of note, she made contact with people from a variety of countries with whom she is still in touch with today, both on a personal basis as well as for legal discussions and advice. Of equal importance, she was able to improve her English language skills.
Unfortunately, Ana encountered some difficulties during her studies, but nothing that she could not learn from. She found it stressful to be the only student focusing on European Private Law. There were fundamental differences between the Dutch education system and the Bulgarian education system that added to her frustrations. Final exams, in particular, were a challenge.
Not accustomed to answering essay questions, Ana found it difficult to acquire any information on this type of exam prior to sittings. The time allowed for writing exams was also a factor as both the foreign students who wrote in a second language and the Dutch students who wrote in their native language had the same amount of time to complete the exams.
There are also numerous positive aspects that contributed to Ana’s time in the Netherlands. These include a very friendly, and at times informal, attitude on the part of professors and other academic personnel. Qualities such as these can help a newcomer feel more at home in an unfamiliar country.
In fact, if Ana had the opportunity to study in the Netherlands again she would be sure to take advantage of these relationships when she needs to speak to someone about problems she encounters. An additional piece of advice that Ana passes along is to be sure to be an active participant in lectures.
This is an effective way get more out of your classes and demonstrate your knowledge to the professor at the same time.
In the future, Ana would like to be a Member of the Commission for the organization she currently works for. She would be entrusted with the responsibility of making final decisions on various policies and procedures.
Presently she does research in order to present draft suggestions to the Commission. She feels that her experience in the Netherlands is a large part of where she is now and where she wants to go in the future, in fact, she considers it to be one of the most valuable experiences of her life!